Re: One Little Thing
- From: Alan Baker <alangbaker@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 20:20:26 GMT
In article <133rqjmi81m1rcd@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
"Dan Johnson" <danieljohnson@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Sandman has kindly pointed out that I need some new material
for my trolling. When was the last time I've trolled something
you haven't heard a hundred times before?
I was thinking the same thing, so I took out ye old PowerBook
to see if I could find something.
Naturally, I hit upon something in seconds! The login screen!
You see, these days I log in to my Toshiba laptop with the
fingerprint reader. It's just terribly convenient. Can't do that
on a Mac, since they don't have this feature.
OK, that's not news. This is just one example of the limitations
of Macintosh computing- Apple just makes the computers
that fit its own vision, if that doesn't happen to include what
you want, well, that's too bad.
But there's more to it than that.
You might think you could buy a USB fingerprint reader,
and just load up some Mac drivers.
The hardware and software do exist, or rather did exist.
Sony had a product in this space some years back, the
"Sony Puppy" but they no longer offer it. From the reviews
I've found, it didn't work well, because it didn't integrate
properly into the login screen. You had to tab into the right
field before it could enter your username and password for
It's hard to say if that UI clumsiness killed this product, or
if it was the goofy name, but it's gone now.
Apple's own documentation cautions programmers that "Biometric
devices such as fingerprint scanners may also be available some
day", but there's hardly any support for them in OS X *today*.
And as far as I can tell, since Sony failed nobody else has
I expect when Apple 'innovates' a fingerprint reader, they'll
make OS X support it. But until this feature fits into Apple's
*own* product line, they won't, so third parties can't do it
But wait, there's more. This is an area where XP has
had an obvious lead, but Vista has expanded it quite
My faithful readers may recall that when I got this Toshiba
it had XP on it with fingerprint software, but I removed it
because it was so bad. The XP stuff worked by replacing
the whole login UI with a new one, which was uglier, less
stable, and only handled some of the places you enter
But fingerprint readers are becoming almost commonplace
these days, and Vista has adapted with much better support
for this stuff.
You don't need to replace the login UI anymore; you just
provide a COM class called a "credential provider". It
provides the username and password when the user
swipes his finger.
With this new software available now, you get fingerprint
support *everywhere*- login screen, UAC, even remote desktop
logins. And you get it with no sacrifice in UI quality, no
compromise in compatibility, and no loss of stability.
I expect someday Apple will produce Macs with fingerprint
readers (or something like that) in them- it's just such an
Apple-y feature. When they do so, they'll provide support in
OS X for it that'll be better than XP's support.
But I doubt they'll match Vista.
You're wrong already.
Mac OS X already provides the framework for supporting such devices.
"The iPhone doesn't have a speaker phone" -- "I checked very carefully" --
"I checked Apple's web pages" -- Edwin on the iPhone and how he missed
the demo of the iPhone speakerphone.
- One Little Thing
- From: Dan Johnson
- One Little Thing
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